1969 BSA A65 LIGHTNING
The 650 Lightning was BSA’s top-line bike, and meant to do battle with the market-dominating Triumph Bonneville and had twin carbs just like the Bonnie. The ’69 Lightning was certainly fast enough and handled well. It just never had the styling to compete with the Triumph. By this time the A65 was well-developed resulting from a steady process of improvement. The 1969 BSA A65 Lightning benefitted from a new balance pipe between exhaust headers, revised silencers (mufflers), wider gasket surfaces on the engine cases, and the new 8-inch TLS (twin leading-shoe) drum brake up front. The A65’s output had been steadily pushed upward to the point that now it was having vibration issues. While it could cruise nicely at 70mph, winding it past 5,500 rpm caused wicked vibration. They were known to break headlight bulbs above 6,200 rpm!
1969 BSA A65 Firebird Scrambler
A65 FIREBIRD SCRAMBLER
The term “scrambler” was the word used back then for a bike that might be called a “dual-sport” bike today. In other words, on that can be ridden on the highway, and yet handle itself off-road. These bikes were great desert racing bikes, which was big back in the 1960s. The high pipes created the extra ground clearance needed for off-road work.